October 2, 2023

3 storylines as 76ers play second of a back-to-back in Detroit


AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The 76ers are on the road again and have a golden opportunity to stretch their winning streak to five games against the Detroit Pistons. 

The Sixers as Tobias Harris (health and safety protocols), Danny Green (left hamstring tightness), and Isaiah Joe (health and safety protocols) are among the players out according to the 3:30 injury report. Joel Embiid (right knee injury recovery) and Furkan Korkmaz (right wrist soreness) were listed as questionable.

Here’s three storylines:

Joe enters protocols

Isaiah Joe has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and the Sixers are testing the entire team for COVID-19 out of precaution before Thursday night’s game. 

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

Joe played five first-half minutes Wednesday during the Sixers’ win over the Chicago Bulls. 

Players in the NBA’s protocols can return either after a minimum of 10 days or after returning two consecutive negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart. 

It’s not known what percentage of Sixers have been vaccinated against COVID-19, though Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said on media day, “It’s not a concern — for us. I can’t say (for) other teams, but we are very, very, very good, let me put it that way.”

Rivers said Wednesday that Harris, who was diagnosed with COVID, is doing “ok but not great, honestly.”  

Joe was a preseason bright spot for the Sixers, averaging 16.8 points and exhibiting an expanded offensive game, along with strong defensive fundamentals. He appeared in seven of the Sixers’ first eight regular-season games, posting 2.0 points per contest in limited playing time.

First look at the No. 1 pick

The first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft Cade Cunningham made his NBA debut the game after the Sixers’ win last Thursday over Detroit. He’s yet to make a three-pointer. Two games into his professional career, Cunningham is 0-for-14 on threes and 3-for-22 overall. 

As he comes back into action after spraining his right ankle during the preseason, maybe Cunningham is due for a shooting breakthrough against the Sixers. He made 40% of his threes at Oklahoma State. 

Cunningham isn’t the only Detroit player coming off of a poor shooting night. Pistons not named Jerami Grant shot 22-for-80 from the floor (27.5%) and 4-for-39 from three-point range (10.3%) in a blowout loss Tuesday to the Bucks. 

The birthday boy

Tyrese Maxey celebrates his 21st birthday Thursday. 

16 starts into Maxey’s career, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers still wasn’t thrilled after a 14-point, six-assist, zero-turnover showing against Chicago.

“I liked him today,” Rivers said. “I didn’t love him today, honestly. I didn’t think he was at the basket as much as he could’ve been. He’s got to be more aggressive. I thought we put him back in with that second group and he let everybody else handle the ball. And we were trying to explain to him, that’s why you’re on the floor — for you to go downhill and make plays for the shooters. So we’ll get that corrected.”

On a good note with Maxey, he’s been very effective when he’s attacked the hoop. He’s shot 72% at the rim, according to Cleaning the Glass. Maxey is drawing fouls more frequently, too, which should help him be a more efficient scorer. 


When: 7:00pm ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia +
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic

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